The “dark side of creativity” is a slippery concept to explore because the idea of “creativity” is subject to historically changing definitions. This paper will review some ideas about creativity and when discussing the art of crime as “the dark side of creativity” will try and avoid positioning “Darkness” as “blindness, evil, lack, loss and as the underworld” compared to “Light” as “clarity, hope, goodness, rebirth and life”. Such stark oppositions often contain quasi-religious meanings as exemplified by the Star Wars movies (“Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the force… But beware the desire of the dark side”). Instead we will discuss the dark side of creativity by:
(1) Reviewing definitions of creativity and examining dyslexia and what else artists, designers, criminals and entrepreneurs have in common (Gamman, 2008a).
(2) Further explaining how and why ideas about the dark side of creativity are relevant to understanding the emergence of the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) located at the University of the Arts London. In particular, to understand approaches to design creativity defined as “thinking thief” (Ekblom, 1997) and also the “criminal gaze” (Gamman, 2008b).
(3) Finally, the paper will discuss how and why ideas about the “the art of crime”, as well as actual crime itself, has informed the discourse of transgression associated with art and design, informing a number of creative outputs that we review.